Being an Advocate
Leelai has been in the forefront of constructive engagements with the Liberian Government to create the enabling environment for Liberian-owned businesses to thrive and make significant impact in Liberia’s economic development. Some of the notable outcomes of these engagements are:
- A MoU signed between the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Liberian Business Association to collaborate in capacity building programs for Liberian-owned SMEs, implementation of the Small Business Empowerment Law of 2014, which allows for 25% of procurement by the Government of Liberia Ministries, Agencies and Commissions, to be awarded to Liberian-owned businesses.
- Successful negotiations with the Central Bank of Liberia resulted to US$5 million stimulus package provided to Liberian owned-businesses. This facility provided easy access to finance through selected commercial banks to hundreds of Liberian-owned businesses covering low interest rate and longer-term repayment period.
This and many other advocacies led to the registration of many more Liberian-owned businesses with the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) which qualifies them to participate in tender for 25% of all Government procurement, including 5% allocation to women entrepreneurs.
Leelai led some Liberian business women in the campaign to advocate for patronage of made in Liberia products and support Liberian businesses and local production.
Following the Ebola epidemic in Liberia, Leelai served as one of the business skills trainers and guest speakers at the African Woman Entrepreneurship Program. AWEP- Liberia, a program birth out of AGOA which graduated 44 strong, determined, courageous and inspiring physically challenged Liberian women who have chosen not to be defined by their circumstances but instead develop their inner ability to be independent through entrepreneurship. Instead of being labelled or seen as common street beggars and Ebola survivors, these women have undergone training in business skills and feel a genuine sense of accomplishment through their own effort and today are all self-employed and managing their own small businesses.
As part of her responsibilities as Secretary-General of the Liberian Business Association, Leelai played a major role in advocating for support for the Tailors Union of Liberia. Chevron Liberia responded positively and made a grant of US$180,000 to strengthen the capacity of members of the Tailors Union to strengthen the Garment industry in Liberia.
During the recent electioneering process in Liberia, Leelai undertook a series of campaigns at several Liberian-owned business premises and some local markets in Monrovia to engage with Liberian business women on the need to demonstrate peaceful posture during and after the elections.